Reflections from Steve Bergson- Degrassi Tribute (Sprockets Film Festival)

Pics from the Sprockets tribute.

Also, here’s some random thoughts & observations from that night :

* “Jan” was a librarian colleague of Linda Schuyler’s who first gave her the book “Ida makes a Movie”, a children’s picture book that featured anthropomorphic cats. She joked that if she didn’t change the cat-people into real people, Degrassi as we know it would be totally different.

* Stefan had tried out for the part of “Joey Jeremiah”, but didn’t get it

* Stacey Mystin had tried out for the part of “Stephanie”, but didn’t get it

* Stefan’s choices for charactere name : “Snake” or “Slim”

* There was a rumor that Ryan Cooley was doing poorly in school and was asked to leave. This was denied.

What was said was that Ryan wanted to attend U of T, while at the the same time the writers wre throwing around the idea of killing off a character to make a statement about youth violence (I thought they had already done so when that but character shot Jimmy and then offed himself). Ryan was urged to not share their idea with the rest of the cast and he kept his word.

* The cast always have input into the scripts during read-throughs. An example given was the idea of having Degrassi have a “gay club”. Since the actor-students never heard of any high scholl having a gay club, the idea wasa nixed.

* Adamo told of how he was unexpectedly French-kissed by a fan one day.

* The Epitome offices received a lot of baby gifts after the “Spike chooses to become a teen mom” episode

* Cassie Steele wears a nose ring (I don’t think Manny ever does on the show, though)

* It was hard for Linda et al to cast for the Degrassi Junior High show. They approached arts schools (that was how they got Stefan), had “sandwich board” signs outside of the Epitome offices, invited back the cast of the oriuginal Degrassi show (i.e. Kids of Degrassi Street). Some of those invited back wanted to try new roles and that was allowed (e.g. for Stacey Mistyn).

* It was pretty unanimously agreed that America fans are kinda nuts compared to us staid, laid-back Canucks. The Fire Department had to be called in for one of their US signing/appearances

* Most bizarre sign of fan appreciation (per “Paige” ; a fan tatooed her signature onto his arm

* When did they know Degrassi was a hit? When they were moved up to weeknight prime time.

* Stefan spoke of an incident at Future Shop when the clerk pretended not to know him and before he ledt said to him “You shouldn’t have cheated on Spike”

* “Spike” was once called a “slut” when she was in a mall, but she just laughed it off

* “Spike” has received mail from real teen moms, which touched her

* AIDS will be one of the themes in the new season (they were kinda cagey about revealing too much about the new season)

* Linda mentioned how the adult/teen interaction has changed, in comparison to the “original” Degrassi, in that they want to have the kids work out the problems on their own, not have the grown-ups solve it for them. At the same time, if they don’t have adult-teen interaction, it leaves less for such Original Degrassi-ers as Spike, Snake and Joey to do on the show. So, they’ve compromised a little.

* Something they’ve been trying this time around is gradually introducing younger cast members so that when the “original regulars” get too old to work on the show, the “newer” regulars will be able to take their place. In this way, they hope to extend the life of the series in a way that they couldn’t with DJH or DH.


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